The Holden assembly line.
The Holden assembly line. GM Corp

Weatherill: Holden leaks show division in Coalition

GOVERNMENT leaks to the media that Holden could shut up shop in 2016 is being labelled a "political power play" by South Australian Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, who warns the loss of the industry would cost tens of thousands of jobs.

The Coalition was in damage control today as it sought to address the damaging leaks, which sent a jolt of panic through the automotive industry.

Earlier this year, Ford announced it would shut its own plant in 2016.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott used a radio interview to say there would be no extra funding for the automotive industry beyond the $500 million on the table

The government would "not chase them down the road waving a blank cheque at them", he said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the government needed to show leadership on dealing with Holden, not "run up the white flag on car manufacturing in this country".

Mr Weatherill said government leaks - in contrast to Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane's long-time support of Holden - were signs of division inside the Coalition.

"They are going to make it a fait accompli to destroy Holden through damaging speculation," Mr Weatherill said.

"By doing that, they are undermining the jobs of 10,000 in South Australia and many more in the industry."

It has been a brutal week for the government, with Qantas announcing it would sack 1000 workers as it rushed to cut costs.

In the same radio interview, Mr Abbott said the government was unlikely to subsidise Qantas but may consider a proposal to ease rules that currently keep Qantas Australian-owned.